The newest ferry in DFDS’ cross channel fleet, Côte d’Opale, has successfully completed berthing trials in Dover, prior to starting its regular service to Calais next month.

Jesper Christensen, DFDS Operations Director, for the Channel, said: ‘Berthing trials in Dover went well and gave us the expected result. Dover Harbour Board was very happy with the vessel’s performance so all is proceeding according to plan. We will have a further trial just before our maiden voyage scheduled for 4 August.’

Passengers beginning their holidays on the Côte d’Opale will be travelling on the most modern ship on the English Channel as ferry travel sees a renaissance following the global pandemic.

Côte d’Opale will be highly efficient and environmentally friendly with an expected reduction in fuel consumption of around 25 per cent compared to the current fleet.

Côte d’Opale can carry 3,100 lane metres of freight, making it the longest ship on the Channel, and 1,000 passengers. It replaces Calais Seaways, which is currently operating on the Dover-Calais route alongside Côte des Flandres and Côte des Dunes.

The ship is named after the French coastal region that borders Belgium and overlooks the English Channel that is known as the ‘Cornwall of the Continent’.

This ship is more environmentally friendly than the ferry which she is replacing. With two engines instead of four, Côte d’Opale will see improvements in fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions and give a service speed of 20-22 knots. Her active stabilisation also makes it very smooth on the crossing.

Côte d’Opale was ordered by DFDS in April 2018 (chartered from Stena RoRo) and has been built at the Avic Weihai shipyard in China. DFDS will operate the ship for an initial ten years with an option to buy it after that. She has the capacity to handle growth in both freight and leisure customers post-Brexit and Covid-19.

Being involved in the design of Côte d’Opale from the outset, DFDS knew that Duty Free shopping would once again be available to passengers and designed the shopping area with that in mind. It stretches across 1,100 square metres in an open-plan concept.

A large atrium with a skylight is the centrepiece of the shopping experience onboard and it feature separate ‘wings’ for each product category sold including perfume and cosmetics, wine and spirits, and electronics. The return of duty-free means that passengers will be able to make huge savings on premium products sold in the onboard shop.